Four Steps to Help Fido’s Anxiety

Four Steps to Help Fido’s Anxiety

No matter how much we love our dog, leaving the house and the dog home alone is a part of life as a pet owner. For some dogs, this can cause anxiety and stress, resulting in mild to severe separation anxiety. Some breeds are more prone to it, and life changes, like a move to a new house or the loss of an important person, can cause it. It’s important to remember some of the symptoms of separation anxiety are similar to other behavioral conditions, such as a dog that is not fully house-trained. If you suspect your dog is suffering from anxiety, monitor and record his behavior patterns to discuss them with your veterinarian.

“He’ll be right back…right? OOOOhhhhhh Nooooo! What if he doesn’t come back?!”

How Can I Help My Dog?

Separation anxiety can be hard on you as the pet owner too. If you have concern over your dog’s behaviors that may include urinating or defecating, excessive barking and howling, trying to escape or being destructive while you are away, try these four steps to help with the dog’s separation anxiety.

  1. Take a walk-  The physical stimulation will help tire the dog out and you will leave him in a quiet, resting mode. If you can’t take a walk, playing together or working on training before you leave will help mentally exhaust your dog before you depart.
  2. Don’t make it a big deal- Don’t pet your dog, talk to him or make eye contact when you leave — or even when you first return home. This helps him learn time apart is just business as usual.
  3. Start small- Leave the dog alone for five minutes, then extend the time to 20 minutes, then to one hour. Continue to increase your time away until you’re able to leave for a full eight hours without problems occurring. Use treats and praise as positive reinforcement when your dog responds well.
  4. Stay calm- The dog can sense your concerned and guilty feelings as you’re getting ready to leave. When you’re calm and confident and project the energy that everything will be okay, the dog’s anxiousness will decrease.

Is Your Dog Still Suffering?

If these steps don’t help your dog’s separation anxiety, ask your veterinarian to consider medical problems that may be contributing to the behaviors, such as incontinence or a medication that causes frequent urination. If behavior problems persist, a certified applied animal behaviorist or certified professional dog trainer may be able to help the dog with more complex counter-conditioning or desensitization.

Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications can be prescribed too, but for best results, these drugs should be used along with a training plan to help the dog learn how to handle being left alone. Consider leaving your dog with a friend or family member, taking him to a doggie daycare or even taking your dog to work with you, if you can, while you help your dog cope with anxiety in the short term.

Will Crate Training Help Separation Anxiety?

Some dogs respond well to crate training because they learn their crate is a safe place to go. But for others, it can cause added stress and anxiety. Owners can observe the dog when he’s left in the crate while you are home. If he is panting heavily, trying to escape or persistently barking/howling, you may consider confining your dog to one room behind a baby gate instead. Leaving busy toys for distraction, or clothes you’ve recently worn as a scent cue can help your dog too.

 

Remember …

Treatment can be a gradual process. As you work with your dog through the separation anxiety, it’s important to remember you should not scold or punish your dog. Anxious behaviors are a distress response, and not a result of disobedience. If you punish him, he may become more upset and the problem could worsen.

 

Does your pet suffer from Separation Anxiety, and you feel like you’ve tried everything?

Schedule a Behavior Consultation appointment with our very own Dr. Annika Benedetto! She loves helping families with pets that have challenges. Dr. Benedetto can asses your pet and their environment to provide your family with a training protocol aimed to reduce stress for the whole household.

Sources:

ASPCA – Separation Anxiety

PetMD – Behavioral Conditions: Separation Anxiety

Humane Society- Does your dog freak out when you leave?

AKC – Expert Advice: Training – Separation Anxiety

 

When should you take your pet to the vet for eye problems?

Is your dog pawing at its eye? Does it have a green discharge? Is your cat’s eye bulging?

Sometimes, it’s difficult to determine when a condition is serious enough to take your pet to the veterinarian.

However, when it comes to eyes, even minor symptoms can be signals of serious eye disease.

EXAMINE YOUR PET FOR WARNING SIGNS OF EYE PROBLEMS
Whenever a pet shows any signs of discomfort near or observable changes to their eyes, the animal needs to be examined. Look for warning indications in your dog:

#1. Does Your Pet Have Eye Pain?

Green Discharge

Signs:

Squinting or closing the eye
Excessive tearing
Light sensitivity
Tenderness to the touchProtruding nictitating membrane
Behavioral changes, for example:
Loss of appetite
Whining
Pawing or rubbing at the eye.

#2. Have Your Pet’s Eyes Changed in Appearance?

Noticeable differences in the animal’s eyes may indicate a problem.

Physical changes in:

Size
Shape
Color

Your cat or dog may be experiencing a problem caused by an inner eye disease. Signs of these diseases are indicated by changes in eye pressure and an abnormal firmness or swelling of the eyeball. These symptoms could be related to diseases such as:

Pupils:

Are they equal in size?
When light is shined directly into the eye, do they contract?
Are they dilated?

Anisocoria – uneven pupils

Eye discharge:
Watery
Thick green or yellow
Mucoid
Is there any indication of pain?
Loss of clarity or transparency, with the cornea appearing:

Smoky
Cloudy
Blue-gray
Entirely opaque
Is there any sign of associated pain?

#3. Is the Surface of Your Pet’s Eyeball Smooth?

When examining the surface of the eyeball, you probably will not be able to look at the eye beneath the skin and eyelids and may need to take your dor or cat to a veterinarian immediately. When examining the surface of the eyeball, the veterinarian will look for indications of:

Corneal abrasions
Ulcers

Corneal Ulcer

#4. Do Your Pet’s Eyes Appear Unusually Sunken or Bulgy?

Glaucoma
Uveitis
This is an examination that is usually and more safely conducted by your veterinarian. Please do not attempt to assess your pet’s eyes, as the eye and surrounding tissue is quite delicate.

The veterinarian may begin this examination by closing the pet’s eyelids and gently pressing on the surface of the eye. This helps them determine if there is a difference between the feel of the eyes; for example, if one feels harder or softer than the other. Additionally, this will provide information to let them know if the eye is tender to the touch as the animal will react with a show of pain. Knowing there is pain may help to point to the cause of the problem.

If the animal’s eye is bulging, it may be the start of an abscess, hematoma, or tumor. This part of the examination will also check for:

Swelling of the face around the eye
Tenderness to the globe when lightly pressed with a finger
Signs the animal has difficulty opening and closing their mouth
Evidence of a head injury.

#5. Is Your Pet Losing Vision?

Similar to a vision test for humans, when checking a dog or cat for vision loss, one eye will be covered while the other is not. Move as if you are going to touch the uncovered eye, and if the animal can see, it will blink as the finger gets closer to its eye.

TAKE YOUR PET TO YOUR VETERINARIAN
If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms, get it to your veterinarian right away. The basic steps of an eye examination help the veterinarian uncover initial information. Based upon these findings, the veterinarian will be able to identify the next step to take toward determining a final diagnosis of the your pet’s eye condition.

Call us or CLICK HERE to schedule your pet’s eye exam.

Tick Paralysis “Help! My dog can’t walk!”

Tick Paralysis

What do you do when your dog suddenly becomes paralyzed? You search for the tick!

Lola came in this morning tetraparetic, which means shes couldn’t move any of her legs. After locating and removing a tick Lola could walk again 6 hours later!

Drs. Coulson and Benoit explain more about tick paralysis in this video below:

 

A few weeks later we had yet ANOTHER tick paralysis patient! Here’s more information from Dr. Patterson.

Learn more about ticks here:

Spring Tick Season

 

Holiday Recipes For Your Pets

The holiday season is, once again, upon us. Family members may come from all corners of the globe to celebrate with us. Fido may also enjoy this time – not only are there extra pats on the head to go around, but there may be extra bits of dropped food too! We all want to snuggle on the couch with our pets. At times it might be safer for our pets to be entertained with snacks that keep them busy instead of under your feet in the kitchen.

 

 

If you would like to include your pet in the festivities, there are safe and healthy ways to do it.  A favorite trick of ours is to stuff a rubber pet toy with treats and let your critters lick it out. Kongs along with West Paw Toppl, Qwizl and Tux toys are great options. We do offer these toys in our clinic, if you would like to check them out. If your pets are skilled at treat extraction from the toys you can pop them in the freezer to harden the goodies. This way your pet will have to try extra hard (and will take a bit longer) to get the treat.

 

What stuff should you stuff with? A classic favorite is peanut butter, pay close attention to make sure that your brand does not contain xylitol which is toxic to pets. For cat toys, tuna is extra stinky and tasty for them. If your pet is on a specialized prescription diet, a wet version of this food could be used. Both cats and dogs will appreciate meat flavored baby foods too! During the holiday season people are treated with extra special home-made foods. Why shouldn’t your pets be treated to the same delights?

 

 

 

Here’s a list of holiday recipes for our furry family members:

Pumpkin Pie Smoothies

Ingredients:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup unsweetened applesauce

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, pumpkin puree and applesauce until mixed thoroughly. Spoon into your favorite dog toy and wrap in cling wrap. Place in the freezer for roughly 4 hours, or until frozen solid. When ready, remove the cling wrap and let your pet enjoy!

 

 

Roasted Turkey & Cranberry Stuffing

Ingredients:
6 oz roasted boneless turkey
½ cup chopped carrot
½ cup quinoa flour
1/8 cup dried cranberries (this can be optional for our feline friends)

Directions:
Blend turkey, carrot, quinoa flour and cranberries in a food processor. Roll the doughy mixture into 1-2-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and allow to cool. Place your stuffing balls into your pets’ toy. Depending on the size of your toy, you can seal up the opening with a glaze of peanut butter to make sure your balls don’t roll right out.

 

 

Sweet Potato Cookies

Ingredients:
1 large cooked sweet potato
1 banana
½ cup quinoa flour
½ tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions:
In a medium bowl, mix banana, sweet potato and vegetable oil until well blended. Mix in quinoa flour until well blended. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely and serve in a toy or give as is.

 

Frozen Feast

Ingredients:
Thanksgiving / Holiday leftovers!
Great options include:
cranberries
steamed broccoli
turkey
brussels sprouts
and more!
Things to avoid:
Onion
Garlic
Xylitol – sugar substitute
Foods high in fat – bacon, etc.

Directions:
Simply combine all the tiny bits of leftovers and stuff them into your pets’ toy. Wrap in cling wrap and freeze. Unwrap and serve to your pets that need a bit of distraction during the bustling holiday season.

The best part about these recipes, they only take minutes to prepare! A spoiled pet and no food waste make for a happy holiday season!